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Woden Experiment to Activate Square
Street Furniture Australia, with support from the ACT Government, has begun the Discovery phase for #WodenExperiment, a six-month furniture installation to activate Woden Town Square in Canberra.
Members of the community, local businesses and politicians gathered to discuss the project and share their experiences of the square at a workshop held in March.
Around 40 participants brainstormed issues and opportunities for the square around Retail Experience, Community Involvement, Comfort and Amenity, and Wow Factor.
“It was exciting to see so many people filling the room, with a great mix of people from community, business and local government creating an atmosphere of high energy and interest,” says Diana Hill, Manager Capital Works – Urban with Transport Canberra and City Services.
“As a result many great ideas about issues and opportunities were discovered and collected by Street Furniture Australia.
“It was heartening to hear people voicing the importance of everyone contributing to the Woden Experiment and recognising that for it to be a great success, it needs to be a collaborative exercise.”
The workshop is part of a six-week user-centred Discovery phase, including empathy interviews, journey mapping and observation. A report will soon be delivered to the ACT Government and community, with recommendations for next steps.
“The aim is to see how we can re-energise this place to become more vibrant and welcoming for the community,” says Street Furniture Australia Design Director Mark Armstrong.
“It was wonderful to see people who work and live nearby, as well as representatives from local businesses and community groups, come along to help us understand their needs and wishlist for the square.
“This will help us to design a six-month installation that caters to the people who use this place each day, or to those who often pass through but currently do not spend time in the area.”
The meeting was attended by two local Murrumbidgee MLAs, Chris Steel for Labor, and Caroline Le Couteur for the Greens.
Woden Town Square is an open outdoor plaza in Phillip, Canberra, that links Woden Bus Station with a Westfield and the Library, Access Canberra, small businesses and offices for public service organisations such as the Department of Health.
The six-month project is results-driven and builds on the success of #BackyardExperiment in Garema Place, which created a popular, colourful, family friendly space in a place similar to Woden Town Square.
“In October 2016, #BackyardExperiment increased foot traffic by almost 200%, and attracted more families, couples, seniors and social groups to spend time in a thoroughfare,” says Street Furniture Australia Marketing Manager June Boxsell.
“Adding some colour, lawn, moveable tables and seats, and colourful lights at night, created a welcoming atmosphere and transformed the area for the eight days of the activation. We want to see similar results for Woden, this time with a longer-term installation that tracks how the activation performs through seasonal change.
“It was inspiring to meet the community and see how passionate they are about this place. Everyone has strong opinions about the changes we could make, but the good news is we all want to see a more welcoming, comfortable town square for Woden.”
To join the movement, follow #WodenExperiment on Facebook.
The Discovery team observed and mapped common foot traffic paths. These can be seen in desire lines, below.
Desire lines appear in the worn lawn where people really want to walk.
The Linea range is sleek and minimalist. 100% stainless steel frames support many colours, lengths and mounting types, including plinth and wall-fixed options.
Street Furniture Australia collaborated with Mobility Design Lab from Monash University to reimagine how urban bus stops and shelters could look, feel and work in the near future. The concept proposal was recently shortlisted for the Smarter Hobart Challenge, an international design competition launched by the City of Hobart in 2020. The competition called for “innovative and exciting ideas to help transform Hobart’s public transport services, and help make waiting for the bus reliable, safe, accessible and socially connective.” More than 120 entries were received from teams in Australia, the US, India, South America, Russia, Ukraine, Singapore, Hong Kong, Italy and France. The concept by Monash University and Street Furniture Australia was one of five finalists. Bus travel can sometimes suffer from “a less optimal image” compared with other modes …
Street Furniture Australia has used empathy interviews, personas, observations, journey mapping and other user-centred research techniques to focus Woden Experiment on the community. These qualitative methods unearth rich detail about the lives and needs of people who use Woden Town Square. The aim is to inform the design of the six-month installation with a “community first” philosophy. “We employ user-centred design techniques in the making of our furniture, and #WodenExperiment now offers the opportunity to apply this methodology to public places,” says Mark Armstrong, Street Furniture Australia Design Director. “One of the challenges of public space is meeting the needs of people from many different walks of life. Through our empathy interviews and observations of the town square we have come up with six key personas to design for. “The …
Following the Woden Experiment Workshop, Chris Steel updated the ACT Legislative Assembly about the project. Below is a transcript of his speech. You can also watch the video on Facebook. Chris Steel: “I talk a lot in this place about Woden Town Centre, and I’m going to talk about it again today, because it is exciting to see change taking place in the town centre, the new residential developments, the light rail stage two on its way, and a new focus on placemaking in the centre now as well. “While many of the spaces in Woden are privately owned, those under ACT Government control present an opportunity for improvement and activation, particularly Woden Town Square. “On the 26th of March, Woden Library played host for the #WodenExperiment town hall, kicking …
ABC Radio Canberra’s Jolene Laverty chats with Street Furniture Australia’s June Boxsell about #WodenExperiment on Drive. The following is a transcript of the program, which aired on Wednesday April 4, 2018. JL. The social project that has increased foot traffic in Garema Place by 200% is going to be replicated in Woden. June Boxsell is the Design and Marketing manager of Street Furniture Australia and she runs these programs, hi June. JB. Hi there, thank you for having me. JL. Thank you for joining us. So it’s called the #WodenExperiment and it’s based on the very successful #BackyardExperiment, which was held in Garema Place a few years ago. Can you just take us back to 2016 and remind us what the Garema Place experiment was? JB. The #BackyardExperiment was a …